Update – Saturday is off due to high winds. Might go ahead on Sunday – didn’t.

Looking good for Monday morning – and indeed, they took off for South London this morning.

Tuesday morning failed – but they will try again for Tuesday evening, lift off in Bexleyheath at 7:30pm (weather permitting).

This morning (Friday), you were supposed to have been roused from your nocturnal slumbers by the sound of music decorously descending from the heavens as seven hot air balloons drifted over London leaving an aural experience in their wake.

Yeup – it’s an art thing.

However, unless I am missing the expected flood of Tweets from Londoners wondering what is going on, the balloons may have remained resolutely land based this morning. Although I can see rather a lot of London from my flat, I have also been unable to see the flotilla of musical bubbles.

The balloons are due to be around for the next 7 days, so maybe tomorrow morning?

The organisers, the London International Festival of Theatre is bringing Luke Jerram’s Sky Orchestra to the city as part of over 1,000 cultural initiatives taking place across the UK in the run up to and beyond the 2012 Olympic Games.

Some people might choose to be irritated by the music, but it is a transitory effect and reading reviews when it arrived in Bristol and Sydney seem to suggest people rather liked it.

The art blurb sayth: “Sky Orchestra is an ongoing research project that explores how we can perceive an artistic experience in sleep. It has been specifically developed music for people sleeping, delivered direct from the skies from a fleet of hot air balloons. Through the use of hauntingly beautiful surround sound, the specially composed music aims to deliver a mesmeric sculptural experience to the public, by lifting them into the creative space on the edge of sleep and then acoustically inspiring their dreams.”

Which I am guessing is an art version of those tapes you can buy to play while you sleep and help you learn a foreign language, or be less stressed in life.

Over Southwark looking toward Canary Wharf - Photo by Luke Jerram (click for more photos)

I gather the balloon flights are not limited to just sunrise, and will also accompany people as they either drift off to sleep or march between pubs in the evening. At least, the offer I have received of an evening flight on Saturday (weather permitting) would suggest so.

Expect some photos from above as you slumber below in a few days time, if the flight goes ahead.

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26 Comments

  1. Ian N

    Hope you are able to take up their flight offer – I’d bite their hand off. Hot air ballooning is amazing! Surely they can’t do it over Central London though since there isn’t much control available over where the balloon goes and where it lands.

  2. M@

    It was called off at the last minute because of high wind speeds at 500 metres. I know because I’m the berk who stayed up all night in order to get to Southwark Park for 5am. Hopefully another day.

    • IanVisits

      Lawks, if I knew the lift-off was in Southwark Park I would have also asked for a morning flight as that is walking distance from my home. Getting (hopefully) an evening one instead.

      The thought of flying over the city in a small wicker basket is slightly scary though.

  3. The artspeak is very nice and all. But somehow it sounds like a Batman plot, a clever cover story for devious supervillains subliminally programming people to do, um, evil stuff. It’s all well and good, until one morning you wake up and the Bank of England is empty.

  4. Andrew Furlow

    How do I get into one of those balloons??!!

  5. Nick

    Sheesh, thank you for the explanation – I thought I was hallucinating. I heard the strains of strange but beautiful music at 5.55 this morning. At first I thought my alarm clock had decided to change it’s settings and proceeded to hammer the buttons in vain. As the music grew louder I looked out of the window (with the one eye working at this ungodly hour) and saw a low hanging balloon go over my roof. Luckily I was standing at my window naked, so probably gave the aeronauts a reciprocal shock. Then, another balloon appeared. I checked myself – am I going crazy, why, how, what the? They disappeared from view. I went out into the street, nothing. Gone.

    Was this the end of the world? No, apparently not.

    Yours bleary eyed, Nick.

  6. mikey jay

    Would you consider taking a Skydiver with you. We would or course be landing separately :)

  7. Does anyone know if they will be taking off from Southwark Park every day?

    • IanVisits

      The venue will change most days.

  8. Confused

    I was woken up by this this morning and thought I was still dreaming! It was beautiful!

  9. Rebecca

    I was awoken to this this morning, right over my house, it was truly amazing! What a way to start Monday! Brilliant.

  10. Saw them this morning as well – even managed to dig out my camera before the last one floated out of sight. Too bad every week can’t start with musical hot air balloons – it was really lovely.

  11. Linda

    I saw these beautiful balloons flying overhead in Lee, South London early this morning. They were so serene and calm it really was a wonderful way to start the day. The music was faint, but the whole experience really made a monday morning that I didn’t enjoyed waking up to. Thanks to whoever thought this up – hope they do it again soon.

    • Linda

      That should read that I DID enjoy waking up to … sorry

  12. mark from bermondsey

    it was the most relaxing thing ive seen for ages, i had a drink last night and thought i was seeing and hearing things, soon got over me hangover,
    hope it happens again, most calming,

  13. Gordon

    I was woken by these at 6am this morning and it was very surreal and really rather cool. They were very low over New Cross. However after working 36 hours in 3 days and today being my day to sleep in, I could have done without the early wake up.

  14. Samantha Jayne

    Do you know if they’ll be taking off from southwark park tomorrow morning?
    As i was told about this happening this morning, but i didn’t hear anything.
    I’d love to see the hot air balloons and hear the music :)

    • IanVisits

      As mentioned above – the lift-off venue will change most days.

  15. Chrissie

    I was woken at 5.45am with music playing and what sounded like a hot air balloon firing up. I looked out the window and saw a beautiful site. Hot air balloons floating over my home. What a good start to the day. Pity i could not be up there with them. Hope to see them again soon :-)

  16. M@

    This morning’s, from Southwark Park, was called off due to the wind pointing straight at Heathrow!

    Another chance tonight.

  17. Deborah

    My husband and I woke up to music playing outside our house in Lewisham yesterday morning. When we looked up we saw seven beautiful hot air balloons floating through the clear blue morning sky. What an amazing sight!

  18. Samantha Jayne

    Will there be a flight tonight?
    I missed the morning flight yesturday, and would love to see it! :)

    • Sylvie Gilbert

      Just flown over Sidcup. Beautiful to see and hear!!!

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